Air-Conditioning In Winter
Q: I have heard that not operating your air-conditioning unit can cause its seals to dry out and leak. I am planning on storing my coach for the better part of a year or more. It will be in heated storage. What should be done during this storage period with respect to the roof air-conditioning as well as the chassis air-conditioning unit that runs off the engine? The coach is a 1994 diesel pusher on an Oshkosh frame.
Nelson Grant, F242487
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
A: The roof air is a totally sealed Freon R22 system. There are no shaft seals to dry out, since there is no shaft-style power input. If you don’t have to worry about birds or other varmints taking up residence in the unit, there is actually nothing you need to do for storage.
The engine-driven air conditioner is different. It has an input shaft and a seal to retain either the R12 or R134a refrigerant. Oil circulates with the refrigerant to lubricate all the moving parts as well as the shaft seal. I think it would be a good idea to run the generator and the coach engine about every two weeks, and if the ambient temperature is warm enough, cycle the air conditioner to circulate the oil.
Q: I have a couple of storage questions for which I get conflicting opinions. Since you have such a great magazine and offer such good service to us members, I value your opinion.
Living in northern Indiana, we take winterizing very seriously. I have a great storage facility for my 2000 Discovery, an 18-foot-by-50-foot cement-floored pole building. Now, for my questions. Is it best to support some of the coach’s weight during winter storage (or any long-term storage of six to eight weeks) with the leveling jacks lowered? I don’t lift the wheels off the cement but do like to relieve some tire stress. Then I read a suggestion that you should rest the tread on some form of “moisture barrier.” What about that?
The next question regards leaving the coach plugged into shore power during storage, even though no power is being drawn. Someone informed me that you can “overcharge” the battery banks and reduce the life of all batteries. There is an inverter that is left on all the time. Is there any truth to that concern?
Dick & Phyllis Carman, F315873
A: Do not use the leveling jacks to lift the coach’s weight during long-term storage “” this is not their designed function. For long-term storage, use jack stands of sufficient capacity to safely support the weight of your coach and do the following:
To create a moisture barrier between the cement and your tires, cut four pieces of plywood (six pieces if you have a tag axle). Each piece should be larger than the footprint of the tire under which it will be placed.
Using a hydraulic jack, elevate each corner of the motorhome high enough so that you can position the plywood pieces under the tires. Once the plywood is in place, lower the jack and support each corner with a properly adjusted jack stand. Each jack stand should support the corner but leave most of the weight on the tires. If you remove the weight off the tires entirely, the springs may sag and take a different “set” than the chassis manufacturer has allowed for. This could cause handling problems in the future.
As far as the 12-volt system is concerned, with so many variables to consider, it would be difficult to provide a specific answer without having more information about your coach. Check your motorhome’s owners manual carefully. You may find all the information you need for leaving the coach in long-term storage.